Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The latest episode of 24

The Belgian gangster dubbed 'the Eel' for his skill at slipping away from Belgian prison authorities (although I'm using "skill" lightly here) was caught in the Netherlands, with another robbery suspect, nearly three days after his latest escape from a Belgian prison.

Nordin Benallal meet Jack Bauer!
This guy needs his own TV show. Nordin Benallal, facing several convictions for armed robbery and carjacking, escaped from a Belgian jail ... for the fourth time. It seems his buddies hijacked a helicopter and swooped in. Previously, he's escaped by jumping out of a prison van, walking out of jail wearing a wig and sunglasses and using a rope ladder to scale a prison wall.
Even better, this is the second time someone has escaped from a Belgian jail this year via helicopter.Guess it's time for them to remove that helipad from the middle of the prison yard.

Halloween Hangman

Halloween Hangman created by The Dimension's Edge, Inc.

The Wembley Streaker

In case you didn't get to see the game on Sunday, here's a short clip on the streaker who ran out to do a few pushups. Actually by the looks of him, a few was an accomplishment. What is it with those British that they're always running around with their wankers out?


“The first time you hear the concept of Halloween when you’re a kid, your brain can’t even process the idea. You’re like, ‘What is this? What did you say? Someone’s giving out candy? Who’s giving out candy? EVERYONE WE KNOW is just giving out candy? I gotta be a part of this!’”

“Two Belgians at the Halloween party turned up with burned faces. What happened? They were bobbing for frites.”

More costumes here.... warning, they get much more tastless.

Brussels Airlines anniversary sale

If you’re planning to buy a plane ticket to fly from Brussels to anywhere in Europe or Africa (Brussels Airlines destinations, that is…) you might want to wait another day to take advantage of the anniversary sale they’re having starting at midnight on November 1st (well, 00h01) and running through Sunday, November 4 at 23h59.
All destinations are included in this sale, which discounts 25% off the fares (not taxes and other fees), BRUSSELS AIRLINES

Monday, October 29, 2007

Imaginative Halloween Costume

There is something about the look in that kid's eye!

Dolphins now suck on two Continents

Everybody was wet. There's a word for that in London; they call it life.
Even the inevitable streaker got wet -- well, after materializing just before the second-half kickoff and performing three push-ups, a minor feat given his regular-guy flab quotient.
Intercultural weirdness did appear here and there.
It probably was the first NFL regular-season crowd to boo a Chelsea soccer star (John Terry) because this is North London, not West London, and it might've been the first real NFL game featuring an Everton banner over a wall. (Note: That's a soccer club in Liverpool.)
Somebody in one end zone brought along a whistle and used it liberally, "which caught me a couple of times," Miami defensive end Jason Taylor said, adding that he'd let up a little bit. (Note: That's really annoying at American football.)

Booing reigned when Manning knelt on the last three plays to exhaust the clock. "The only thing they didn't understand, quite frankly," Coughlin said. (Note: They might've understood but disliked it anyway.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

That's some serious downloading

The appeal court in Liege imposed damages of more than EUR 400,000 on a Belgian man convicted of piracy. The man illegally copied films, games, software and music from the internet. This is the largest fine for piracy ever imposed in Belgium.
More than 7,500 illegal copies were confiscated from the man. He was convicted last week but the news was just announced today by IFPI Belgium, an organisation that represents the music industry and which sued the defendant in this case.
The case came to light in 2000 after an anonymous tip off about large sales of illegal music, films, games and software in Verviers. In first instance the defendant was ordered to pay just EUR 1 in provisional damages to the parties that had brought suit. Those parties appealed the first ruling.

Steer clear of Schaarbeek and St. Joost

Suggestion that you steer clear of the Brussels neighbourhoods of St Joost or Schaarbeek Saturday morning? Shopkeepers and cafe owners are planning a major demonstration for the morning. Not only is the Turkish community planning to put upwards of 10,000 people on the streets, but so is the local Kurdish community. Both of these planned demonstrations have been banned by the police, but in the light of the rioting here over the last week, I wouldn't put much confidence in the manifestation not going ahead. BRUSSELS JOURNAL

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Shopping in Antwerp

Thursday October 25th the new shopping center in Antwerp opened. In the old day's it was a big place were proms were held. In 2000 the City festival hall burned out and so they left it. In 2004 they started rebuilding the festival hall into a fashion shopping center.
Project manager Multi Development built 40 new appartments on the upper levels and 275 parking places under ground.
There is a Nike Antwerp, COS, Tommy Hilfiger Tailormade, Salsa, Sabon, La Place, Saturn, Crocs, Lloyd Shoes, Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar, Onara en Leon Mode who are opening there first shop in Belgium. Also Sasha, Cortefiel, Turnover, Bart Smit, Standaard Boekhandel, Casa, Blokker, Delhaize, ICI Paris XL and O'Neill have a shop in the new center. The price? Well the total package will be around 115 million euro.

More Car-B-Ques in Brussels

But Freddy says Brussels can't have a 9/11 peaceful demonstration.
Heavy rioting erupted in Turkish quarters of Brussels Wednesday. Buses and trams were attacked. Several cars were torched and shops destroyed. Police forces were unable to restore law and order in the boroughs of Sint-Joost-ten-Node and Schaarbeek where since last Sunday the animosity among Turks is running high. Turkish flags are omnipresent. In some streets the Turkish crescent and star adorns almost every house.
Wednesday in Freddy Thielemans pro-Islamist Brussels, violence erupted in the evening, with Turks attacking buses, cars, trains and shops. In a re-run of Ottoman bigotry, on Sunday night in the district of Sint-Joost, a bar owned by Armenian Peter Petrossian was attacked. On Monday, a cafe belonging to an Iraqi Kurd was ransacked by Turkish nationalists. On Wednesday, Turkish youths began to attack Kurdish shops in Brussels. Similar demonstrations by Turks took place in Antwerp.
The rioting on Wednesday caused 10 police officers to be injured. The violence followed a demonstration by 800 people against Kurds which turned violent.
Brussels journal has the story

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Brasserie Cantillon Beer Festival

The Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum is opening its doors on Saturday November 10th for its annual Public Brewing Session.
From 6h30 to 17h, the Master brewer, his family and friends invite you to this 19th Century brewery for a brewing fair where you can experience the various steps in the traditional production of Lambic and Gueuze beers, using original equipment and techniques.
The brewery tries to use biodynamic and organic ingredients wherever possible and is committed to traditional practices, thus producing excellent non-commercial beers.
The programme for the Public Brewing Session on 10 November is as follows:
6.30 to 9.00 Brewing process
9 to 13.00 Filtration and hopping
12.00 to 15.00 Cooking
15.30 Pumping of wort into the cooling tun
6.30 to 12.00 Barrel cleaning "ancient method"
Guided tours every 2 hours as from 7.00 Croissants and coffee until 8.30, free of charge. Cantillon is located at 56 rue Gheude,
Anderlecht, Brussels (close to Gare Du Midi)


A poster for a campaign to pusuade Belgian politicians to form a government. Written in English, naturally, and ripped off from Uncle Sam?

Jimnastic Party at El Vergal

A suprise party that actually turned out to be a surprise for Jim's birthday, graduation, new job, and probably just another lame excuse to drink. At any rate we all had a good time, and the food and staff at El Vergal was wonderful as usual.


SUX, it's better than GAY

Sioux City, Iowa Gateway Airport finally decided to embrace their city’s three letter code, which happens to be SUX, which they feel happens to be better than GAY.

City leaders have scrapped plans to do away with the Sioux Gateway Airport's unflattering three-letter identifier _ SUX _ and instead have made it the centerpiece of the airport's new marketing campaign.
The code, used by pilots and airports worldwide and printed on tickets and luggage tags, will be used on T-shirts and caps sporting the airport's new slogan, "FLY SUX." It also forms the address of the airport's redesigned Web site _
Sioux City officials petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to change the code in 1988 and 2002. At one point, the FAA offered the city five alternatives _ GWU, GYO, GYT, SGV and GAY _ but airport trustees turned them down.

I love the Dr. Evil Profile

Tired of Facebook? Got some bad blood you need to vent online? Then embrace your hate and say hello to Hatebook.
Hatebook is a Facebook parody site that looks and functions exactly like Facebook… except with an evil twist.
Here’s a brief list of the “evil twist” to give you a better idea of how Hatebook compares to Facebook:
if you want to mail message someone on Hatebook, it’s called “junkmail”
instead of a blue color scheme, Hatebook is an evil red
profiles (called “hate profiles”) include a section called “Why I’m Better Than You!”
“Hate Albums” consist of photos and descriptions of things you hate
Are you married? Single? Hatebook doesn’t care. Your status options consist of Hater, Player, Sucker, Loser, etc.
After you create a profile, you will be greeted with the following message:
“Hello Sucker! Welcome to Hatebook! Your registration to the Evil Empire was successful. Feel free to pimp your hate profile.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mafia is Italy's biggest commercial business

The Mafia is now the biggest business in Italy, with organised crime netting Mob bosses more than £63bn a year, or 7 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, from drugs, extortion and prostitution.
Tano Grasso, the head of Italy's anti-racketeering commission, said the Mafia made £21bn from extortion last year, with 160,000 businesses, mostly in southern Italy, paying up. As a result, only one in 10 foreign investors set up companies in the south, he said. READ ON

Only in Belgium #972

A man who assisted an elderly woman on Monday after train doors closed on her was "thanked" by the conductor with a 60-euro fine.
"I apparently could have caused a delay and that is not permitted," Daniël Dewulf from Ostend told newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
Dewulf managed to get on the Bruges-bound train just before the conductor's whistle. "Then I noticed that an elderly woman had tried to get on after me. The doors had closed on her, trapping her. In order to prevent a tragedy I pushed the door open and helped her get in. She thanked me profusely."
The conductor was less enthusiastic. "He gave me a fine because my actions increased the chance of a delay," Dewulf explained. "The train arrived right on time in Bruges in any event. The conductor did not see my point that I may have saved the woman's life as a mitigating circumstance. Result: 60-euro fine."
So basically it's OK to knock off old ladies, as long as the trains run on time?
That has a familiar European ring to it!

I thought that was a job perk!

Belgian Police told not to visit Brothels.
Police patrolling the red-light district of the Belgian capital have been ordered to stop visiting brothels and drinking in bars when on duty.
A letter sent to officers in Brussels' northern police district, and published in a Belgian daily on Tuesday, urged them to set a good example and earn the public's respect.
"These officers think their duty hours are to be used to drink alcohol in bars, practice sports..., visit brothels or massage parlors, and entertain (intimate) relationships with residents of the neighborhood during their patrol," said the letter from a local police chief.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Talk about a mid-season road trip. The Miami Dolphins and New York Giants are probably planning their sleep schedules now.
As teams get ready to play this Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, the National Football League says more regular-season games overseas may be in the offing.
The league today unveiled a 26-foot-tall replica of Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor in London's Trafalgar Square. The replica, which the NFL is calling the biggest animated human figure ever built, was created by London-based SFX Company Artem. It has moveable feet and arms.
The Dolphins, at 0-7, could probably use this thing!
And in case you can't tell who that is standing at Taylor's feet, it's a movie star......... OK, I was using the word "star" loosely. Yes, that's Christian Slater, and no, I have no idea how Christian Slater was chosen as the American "star" to help the NFL promote the American brand of football across the pond.

La Nuit des Publivores @ Cirque Royal

The Night of the AdEaters is a show that now runs in more that 40 countries worldwide dedicated to showing the production of advertising among 60 different nationalities on the Big Screen and in a crazy atmosphere!
Spend the night watching commercials with over 2000 other people for more than 6 hours, safe in the expectation that the evening is going to be amusing, hilarious, shocking and even side splitting at times. This is a true ‘night out’ in Belgium. During the evening, adverts representing the very best from the last year as well as the past four decades will be shown throughout the night and should not be missed.
October 26 and 27 at Le Cirque Royal website
Here is a sample on how to handle plywood.....

Does it get any better than this?

Girls chasing balls!
Showing off her ever-ready ball skills, this catwalk beauty was just one of a team of trained adult models appearing at the Madrid Masters Tennis Tourney in Spain. MORE PICTURES

Monday, October 22, 2007

Belgian Streaker at Football Game

A Hockey Coach, Bernard Devresse, who wanted to propose to his girlfriend in a different way, streaked across the pitch during the Belgium-Armenia football game last week. Needless to say, he is not a hockey coach any more, and he is now without a girlfriend.

Go here for more pictures and story, but consider yourself warned boys, it's not a pretty site. (we're talkin full frontal)

Expat Welcome Fair

The Expat Welcome Fair at the Cinquantinaire was very well attended with the nice weather over the weekend. We talked to quite a number of prospective STUDS who may soon be showing up for a Friday Lunch.

Smart and Blonde!

23 year old Nele Somers was chosen 'Miss Belgian Beauty 2008' Saturday night. Nele Somers from Brasschaat (north of Antwerp) is a lawyer. She is 1'68 tall and has blond hair and blue eyes.

Diesel up to 1.15 a litre

Diesel car drivers will no longer get a discount. The government has decided to no longer intervene to keep diesel prices relatively low. Taxi companies are considering price hikes. Read More

Thursday, October 18, 2007

'Human Flesh Tastes Like Pork'

In his first television interview, German cannibal Armin Meiwes describes the taste of human flesh, provides a decent recipe for steak, explains his fascination with the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel -- and insists that he's a normal person.
Spiegel Online has some excerpts from the interview.

Belgium wins the Bronze medal!

Belgians have to hand over, on average, 44.8 percent of all their earnings to the state. The fiscal burden in Belgium in 2006 was the third highest in the countries of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), after Sweden and Denmark. This emerges in provisional figures from this organisation. The tax burden in Belgium did drop in comparison to 2005.
The tax burden is measured by the OECD in a percentage of the GDP. This comes to 44.8 percent in Belgium for 2006. Only in Sweden (50.1 percent) and Denmark (49 percent) is the figure higher.
All three countries did show a fall in the tax burden compared to 2005.

Belgium's tax burden is quite a bit higher than the OECD average. For 2005 – the last year for which complete figures are available – the average percentage was 36.2.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Football Stadium for Brussels

The Brussels municipality of Schaarbeek has landed the new national soccer stadium.
The Prime Minister of the Brussels Region, Charles Piqué presented his government's plans for a new national soccer stadium in Brussels to the Capital's Regional Parliament on Wednesday.

The aim is to make the new stadium the new home of the national team, the Red Devils, and also probably the new home of Anderlecht football club. It will be a multifunctional and seat 60,000.

In typical Belgium fashion ........... The political consensus opens the way for talks with all parties involved including the Belgian Railways, the owners of the land.Investors, too, have already come forward.The new stadium will require up to 3 years study work and won't be ready before 2012 at the earliest.

Belgium is second most expensive for worker costs

Belgium need not be surprised that more and more manufacturing companies are locating all or part of their production to low-income countries. The country may well be in a prime logistic location and have well-trained workers, but the high salary costs continue to be a serious setback.

In this country a worker costs his employer EUR 34.19 per hour, including taxes and social security premiums. Only in Norway is the hourly rate per worker higher. This comes to EUR 38.07.

Other developed economies like Japan and the USA pay a lot less per hour than Belgium and its neighbours. In the USA, the hourly worker rate is EUR 23.94, while it is EUR 20.38 in Japan. READ ON

Free WIFI spot in Brussels

Some listings of free WIFI spots in Brussels here and here

Learning Languages by game playing

How about a playful way of learning a new language and meeting new people? If you find the idea appealing, the !New Amigos Ville! evenings may suit you well.
Every Tuesday evening, people of various nationalities gather in numerous European cafes to sit around a game board... not Risk or Catan, but a highly original language game: newamigosville. It’s instructive and fun – what more could you want? The place to be in Brussels is the back room of Café Monk, rue Saint Cathérine 42 from 7 to 11 pm on Tuesdays. More information on

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

First USA baby boomer applies for Social Security

The Silver Tsunami has started!
The nation's first baby boomer applied for Social Security Monday, the start of an avalanche of applications from the post-World War II generation.
Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, a former teacher from New Jersey, applied for benefits over the Internet. Casey-Kirschling was born one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946, making her the first baby boomer -- a generation of nearly 80 million born from 1946 to 1964.
She'll apply — online — for Social Security at a public ceremony. When Kirschling turns 62, she'll be able to celebrate with that first monthly check. Celebrating may be short lived. Paying for 80 million retirees is not going to be cheap.

Brussels Retro Festival Classic Car Show

The 26th Brussels Retro Festival will be taking place on 19, 20 & 21 October at Brussels Expo in halls 11 & 12. The 1st Classic Car Auction on Saturday 20 October and the 2 nd Toy's Swap Meet on Sunday 21 October.
Importers, make and multi-make clubs, classic car and automobile object traders, toy specialists, booksellers, restoration workshops, spare parts and accessory stands: everyone and everything from the classic car world is expected, with 300 exhibitors and 27 000 visitors.

Nude calendar.. Fifty-years old!

We need some STUDwife volunteers. This could turn out to be a good fundraiser to support some more of our bad habits.
To mark the launch of their new range of products for mature skin, Dove wanted to create an art nude calendar with women of fifty-years old and more. Surprising result…When we turn fifty, do we or will we feel old? In any case, the "Pro age Girls" don't share that opinion. The "Pro age Girls" are the 13 young women who were finally accepted to pose for the Dove calendar.
So the famous brand made a casting. Women of fifty years old and more were needed, the only conditions were to be at ease with oneself and to accept to pose naked. A few months later, 1114 women had applied! Dove had to make the selection from among all those women. And the choice was so difficult that 13, and not 12 women were finally accepted to pose for Lieve Blancquaert. The photographer is very satisfied with the result. "Those women are beautiful. They are radiant and feel at ease with their selves."
It just doesn't work nearly as well when the guys do it!

Megavino 2007 in Brussels

Megavino brings 260 wine growers from 21 countries to the wine loving part of Belgium. ( October 19-22, Heizel, Brussels)
According to studies done at the University of Paris, Belgium is a test market for wine exporters. Belgium is thé middle point of the european wine market.
Total wine import: 350 million bottles - that makes 35 bottles a man. (’Self-import’ done by travelling Belgians not included.) That immense flood of wine represent a market value of 1,12 billion euro - or just about 3 euros a bottle.
Almost 70% is wine of French origin, mainly simple Bordeaux and Rhône wines. Italy and Spain finish second and third.
Wine sales in Belgium are still growing, with thanks to women and youngsters, whose wine consumption still increases. Women are said to prefer white wines, youngsters rosé and screwcaps…

One in seven Belgians in poverty

According to a report from the Belgian Economy Ministry one in seven Belgians lives in poverty.
Singles on less than 822 euros a month and a couple with two children who have to get by on less than 1,726 euros a month are considered to be below the poverty line in Belgium. READ MORE

Dodge Nitro

The Belgians know who Ron Paul is?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Last chip shop shuts down

On Sunday Wijnand van de Laar marked the last day of his "Frituur Falcon" by giving away free chips. Falcon was not just your common-or-garden chip shop, but an old-fashioned, quite unique chip stall. Anyone who wants to run a Belgian institution in 2007 has to comply with strict regulations.
Wijnand van de Laar no longer fancied this idea. "They are coming to take the whole thing away today. That will be an emotional moment".
Frituur Falcon had hi stall at the same spot for years and years on the square of the same name.

British resort to DIY teeth pulling

Don't you love socialised medicine?
Such is the shortage of state-funded dentists that one in 20 patients has resorted to DIY treatment, in some cases pulling out their own teeth.
Anthony Halperin, chairman of the Patients' Association and a dentist himself, said: "It's simply astonishing in this day and age that we have people pulling their own teeth out.

According to the Government’s own estimate, more than 2 million people who wish to access NHS dental care are unable to do so. READ MORE

Gore Wins Nobel Prize, High Court Gives It to Bush

Although former Vice President Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize this week for his work as a global-warming performance artist, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled early today that President George Bush would receive the gold medal, the diploma and the $750,000.
Mr. Bush, who was narrowly defeated by Mr. Gore in the 2000 presidential election, thanked Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito “for swinging the vote my way, and helping me to join the pantheon of great Nobel laureates like Jimmy Carter and the late Yassir Arafat who together brought peace to the middle east.”
Mr. Gore could not be reached for comment as he was returning from Oslo, Norway, in a private jet. However, his spokesman said that his efforts to bring peace on earth speak for themselves.
“Thanks to Al Gore’s movies, speeches and books,” said the unnamed spokesman, “Terrorists and tyrants around the world will soon lay aside the weapons of war and give peace a chance by working together to develop a hybrid car that runs on cheap, clean-burning gunpowder.”

Resistance Fighter De Jongh Is Dead

Countess Andree De Jongh, who set up an escape route that helped hundreds of British airmen flee the Nazi occupation of Belgium during World War II, has died. She was 90.
De Jongh, a female nurse in a men's world of war resistance, helped found the Comet Line escape route while still in her 20s. After her arrest in 1943, she survived German camps before being liberated at the end of the war. READ ON

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Top Ten Forecasts for 2008

Here are the Top Ten Forecasts for 2008 from the editors of The Futurist. Interesting, but like Wired magazine, The Futurist often seems a bit "retro" to people who actually have imaginations.

Quote of the day!

“I Love It Because I Am Not Proud of It”
This is the only country in the world that has no proud identity nor any sense of chauvinism. That’s also why I like it! Look at the French and the Germans, so proud of themselves. We are the exact opposite. This flag doesn’t provoke any feeling in me, except a short sharp slap in the face for the extremist minority who wants to separate people who have never had a problem among themselves.

I don't get it, she's not that hot.

The rumors have been flying about an official separation and a possible divorce between Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia. This abridged article is from Yahoo, but it appears that the news was originally published in a local paper from Lorraine: L'Est Républicain: